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Ana Mendieta

Artist 110 Ana Mendieta Displacement Earth- Body

Ana Mendieta (1948 – 1985) was a Cuban American artist. She is best known for her "earth-body" artwork. Born in Havana, Mendieta arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1961.

An influential artist best known for her “earth-body” performances, as she called them, Ana Mendieta explored her identity as a female emigrant in work that also encompassed photography, film, and sculpture.

Mendieta used the earth as a site to address issues of displacement, impressing her body in various outdoor locations and recording its imprint in photographs and video.

She would often fill in the silhouette of her body with materials including rocks, twigs, flowers, and blood, combining a concern with primal rituals and a modern, feminist sensibility.

Mendieta wanted to invoke the “magic, knowledge, and power of primitive art…to express the immediacy of life and the eternity of nature,” as she once said.

In other works she smeared herself with blood, or used it to trace her outline.

Her work was somewhat autobiographical, drawing from her history of being displaced from her natal Cuba, and focused on themes including feminism, violence, life, death, identity, place and belonging. Mendieta often focused on a spiritual and physical connection with the Earth.

Mendieta felt that by uniting her body with the earth she could became whole again: "Through my earth/body sculptures, I become one with the earth ... I become an extension of nature and nature becomes an extension of my body. This obsessive act of reasserting my ties with the earth is really the reactivation of primeval beliefs ... [in] an omnipresent female force, the after image of being encompassing within the womb, is a manifestation of my thirst for being."

She deals with the displacement of Abject and feeling ‘Other’ in being in exile. Her works almost look like corpses, a returning to the art. It evokes a binary of peace and destruction.


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